As Autonomous Car Technology Advances, Legal Issues Arise

Over the past several years, the driverless car has become a reality. In fact, most major auto manufacturers have started production of semi-autonomous models and are developing fully autonomous models that would require no driver effort. However, as the technology for driverless cars advances, issues regarding safety and legal liability in the event of an accident are coming to the forefront of the conversation.

According to a recent news article discussing semi-autonomous cars, there is a division among auto manufacturers as to whether drivers are capable of taking over control of the vehicle when a potentially complex driving situation arises. With the current technology, vehicles alert a motorist when he or she will need to take over control because the on-board computer does not know what to do. Depending on the model of vehicle, the driver will then have somewhere between five and 30 seconds to take over control of the vehicle. However, some research has shown that sleeping or otherwise distracted drivers can take about two minutes to acclimate to the situation and safely take control of the vehicle. Because of these concerns, some manufacturers have opted to forego manufacturing semi-autonomous vehicles and focus on fully autonomous technology.

Another potential issue with driverless cars is who is liable when an accident occurs. At least one large auto manufacturer has stated that it plans on acknowledging liability in all accidents involving the company’s driverless technology. Other manufacturers, however, plan on handling each situation on a case-by-case basis. The unanswered question is whether the “driver” of an autonomous vehicle will also be liable. This is a question that only lawmakers or the courts can decide.

Liability in Maryland Car Accidents

As the law currently stands, negligent drivers who cause a car accident can be held liable for any injuries caused as a result of the accident. This will not likely change even with the advent of driverless cars. However, as driverless cars become more common, state legislatures and courts will have to determine the scope of liability for parties involved in autonomous car accidents. As with any new legal issue, to a large extent, the legal landscape of these cases will be shaped by the first few cases that reach the court system.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Drivers have a duty to those with whom they share the road to operate their vehicles in a safe manner. When a driver’s negligence results in injuries to another motorist or pedestrian, the negligent driver may be liable to any injured parties. To learn more about how you may be able to recover compensation for injuries you sustained in a Maryland car accident, contact the personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers. The attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, are dedicated personal injury advocates on the cutting edge of Maryland accident law. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated injury attorney.

More Blog Posts:

Court Discusses the Superior/Equal Knowledge Doctrine in Recent Personal Injury Case, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 2, 2017.

Court Allows Negligent Entrustment Claim to Proceed Against Employer that Allowed an Employee to Use a Company Vehicle for Personal Use, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 23, 2017.

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